What’s this all about?

I’m a comedy writer who’s had severe food and environmental allergies since infancy.  Sometimes, it feels like the list of what I can eat is shorter than what I can’t. That list has changed a lot over the years, and I’m finally working with an allergist who doesn’t believe my allergies are all psychosomatic (here’s to believing test results!). So what better way to chronicle all this than in a blog that explores my hilarious (in hindsight) adventures as a woman with allergies.

***

My hope is that this blog brings some comfort to people with food and other allergies, and that my experiences make you feel less alone.  I know that from reading other blogs in the midst of a reaction, I’ve found that things I’ve never quite understood to be true about myself are, in fact, true (for instance, calling non-sour foods sour because sour describes how it feels when your body feels like it’s stopping). And since I have to stay away from so many foods, I think this might be a cool place to post recipes or ideas for dishes that people with some overlapping allergies may enjoy.  And if the whole things raises awareness that allergies are a) real and b) totally fine to live with, then that’d just be peachy.

***

Got questions?  Want to contribute?  Have general feedback? Email me at screenwritercind@gmail.com.

Advertisements

7 responses

  1. As someone with celiac disease and a bunch (17, I think) food allergies, I can really relate. What are you allergic to? I’m anaphylactic (airborne, unfortunately) to peanuts and mushrooms. But dairy, soy, and eggs make finding recipes challenging.

    ~Kelsey

    • Hey Kelsey! I’m still getting to the bottom of what I’m allergic to (I had a stable list for a while but everything went out of whack two summers ago, and I’m now regularly challenging foods. It changes on a regular basis (for the better!) but right now I am allergic to:

      nuts (except almonds; includes traces of nuts/processed on equipment with nuts)
      fish (slightly airborne)
      horseradish – (severely airborne)
      avocado
      olives/olive oil
      sunflower seeds
      flax
      cottonseed oil
      leafy greens (slightly airborne, lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.)
      cabbage (slightly airborne)
      sesame
      chickpeas/garbanzo beans (can sort of have sabra hummus, but it gives me migraines so I technically didn’t pass the challenge)
      green peppers
      cucumber/pickles
      watermelon
      blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
      dates
      figs
      papaya
      mushrooms
      peach
      grapefruit
      broccoli
      cauliflower
      brussel sprouts
      xanthan gum, guar gum, locust bean gum
      bouillon cubes/soup mixes/consumme
      some forms of wheat (semolina and durum — aka pasta/couscous/risotto; can’t eat processed foods with wheat until I challenge each one individually)
      malt in any processed foods I haven’t yet challenged
      onions/leeks/scallions (except organic spanish/yellow onions that are boiled in soups/chulent/stews/braised meats, etc).
      buckwheat
      wine that isn’t cabernet sauvignon, including wine-based vinegars
      beer that isn’t heineken
      artichoke
      dill

      Though our allergies don’t really overlap, when I started this blog I was not able to eat any of the ingredients you are allergic to, so I’m happy to help you with recipes! Stick to the basics, usually. Meat and veggies – without sauces – can go a long way.

    • I was trying to find a way to contact you. Curious who your doctor is. Maybe Xolair could help my daughter. I have been keeping up with the studies using Xolair with oral immunothetapy. Didn’t think about inquiring about it. Have you been able to get it covered by insurance? Not sure if you talked about this on any of your posts (just discovered your blog this morning). Thanks!

      • Xolair is covered by my insurance. Getting the coverage involved some bloodwork to prove I had a certain level of IGEs on my cells (the things that cause allergies). Feel free to email me at screenwritercind@gmail.com, and I can give you some more info about my doctor. Good luck!

  2. How old were you when you started having these allergies? And, do you think there was a specific trigger? Have you tried any immunotherapy? Our DD recently started to react to every fruit and vegetable. She had been fine with almost all of them just days, weeks and/or months before. She has always had some food allergies (sesame, poppy, flax and wasabi), but now we are adding new allergens to the list everyday. She is 12 and I wonder if puberty has something to do with it. We just learned that her vitamin D levels are way low. She is even reacting to Benadryl and possibly Zyrtec. I am doing my best to research everything under the sun and I am desperate to find something that will help her. Today we are flying to see a sublingual immunothetapy doc out of state and I petrified that she is going to have an airborne rxn on the plane. She just started having airborne rxns and I don’t know exactly to what. One was after I heated up vegetable soup in the microwave for myself. Do you fly with this condition? Do you wear a mask? I am so sad for my daughter. How are you today? I would be so curious to know more of your story. Be well.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      So sorry to hear about your daughter’s situation. I’m not a doctor, so please take all of my advice as complete hearsay.

      I’ve had severe allergies since I was an infant, and they’ve fluctuated in terms of severity at various points in my life. If I remember correctly, 12 was the age I started incorporating more foods — but by 15, my airborne allergies started, and then overexposure in college made them worse again, then a stressful situation made them even worse a few years later, and now, I’m taking Xolair, a new treatment, which has made them better than they’ve ever been in my life. I will say, I do notice that I do have slightly increased allergic symptoms at different times of the month, but only some months, and I’ve never had any tests done to determine a correlation. But asking your doctor about puberty can only be a good thing, even if s/he just says “No, that’s not it.” At least you’ll know.

      Consulting with a doctor is always the best option. Make sure to be detailed about her experiences and types of reactions so he can pinpoint exactly what’s going on.

      Airborne reactions are difficult — and my solution, which is taking Benadryl, seems like it may not work for your daughter. Make sure to keep epinephrine on hand at ALL times. As for flying — when I had airborne reactions, I would take a Claritin before the flight (after taking my usual Zyrtec in the morning), wear a scarf to make sure I could cover my nose and mouth, and bring as much Benadryl and epi as I could on the flight. Obviously, if she is reacting to that medicine, that piece is not a good idea. The scarf as a face mask (I did this as a matter of personal pride, but it probably wasn’t as safe as it could have been) worked, but since she is young and this is new, and she has a history of reacting to medicine, I’d go with a face mask and hope for the best. You can try to tell the flight crew about her situation, but I’ve personally never encountered a receptive crew, and I fly across the country four to six times a year at a minimum, on different airlines.

      The good news: there are new treatments, new research, and excellent doctors out there. I’m healthier than I ever thought I could be. You will find answers and a treatment plan that works for you, and she will live a healthy and full life, albeit with some challenges. But allergies are manageable, and they get more manageable every day. Try to be strong for her. The best thing my parents ever did for me in regard to my allergies was accepting them as reality, showing me how to be strong and take charge of my needs (my mom used to march into the kitchens of restaurants and demand to talk to the chef and wouldn’t take no for an answer), and remaining positive about all the things I could do. As more allergies got added to my list over the years, I’d get sad, but then excited to find recipes for things I could eat. When I couldn’t eat beef, my mom perfected multiple bison recipes. That wasn’t sad — it was special to eat something so gourmet. It’s all about spin, emotionally.

      Good luck with your doctor’s visit, your flight, and your daughter’s situation. I’m thinking of you, and wishing her an easy diagnosis. Know that you have support. You are not alone, and you will get through this.

      Hope to hear good news!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s